After having a week of John Carpenter’s work, in the month of #Johnuary, we now move on to honouring the work of another John. This time the composer John Barry.

I put John Barry on my list of Johns because I always used to get his name mixed up with John Williams. I could never remember which was which. Having immersed myself in their work I certainly now won’t get their names mixed up after Johnuary.

Like most people, when I think of John Barry I think of James Bond. He has made such a name for himself as the composer of Bond music. His music really does help make those films so classy and recognisable. But there’s more to Barry than just Bond. For Johnuary we will be focussing mostly on the Bond work but there are a few other interesting music scores he wrote which I’ll be touching on at the end of the week also.

John Barry OBE, was English, born in York, but around the 70s or 80s moved to near New York. From Old York to New York. After the success of his work on Dr. No. Barry scored eleven of the next fourteen Bond films. He was won five Oscars and also received a Bafta fellowship. My understanding is that he would often draft lyrics but would then refine them with lyricists.

John Barry

One thing I really associate with Barry is ‘brass’. I just think he uses brass to such good effect in his Bond music. Obviously there is percussion and most certainly strings, but it’s the ballsy brass that I really associate with his work. We’ll see if that association I have holds up as I go through his discography. He had a big Jazz background and that is very evident in some of the tracks too.

In the next post later today I’ll be touching upon arguably the most controversial of his works which was his involvement in the James Bond theme and the debate around who owns the credit. I learnt a lot about the history of that tune whilst researching these posts. Stay tuned for that one later today and enjoy the showcase of John Barry’s fantastic work over the course of this week.